…the discipline that explores acoustic phenomena encoded in ancient artefacts. For instance, theoretically a pot or vase could be "read" like a gramophone record or phonograph cylinder for messages from the past.
Preliminary studies have shown that manmade prehistoric chambers still resonate at a sound wave frequency which appears to shift brain activity in the prefrontal cortex; just as the rooms would have done when they were created. This shifting is believed to emphasize a part of the brain that deals with creativity, mood and emotional processing.
An appreciation of acoustic effects can be traced all the way back to our Palaeolithic ancestors. According to Igor Reznikoff of Nanterre University, Paris, they may have used sound to navigate around cave networks. Different echoes and resonances would warn of deep holes in the cave floor, for instance, so by making noises people could find their way in the dark, perhaps to gather together far from marauding tribes or predatory animals. Similar effects might even have scared off would-be attackers: make a low hum in the right recess and the growl of a bison might resound down a whole gallery.
FIRST they make you drink the juice of the San Pedro cactus. Then they lead you towards the darkness. The corridors are cold and full of twists and turns that make your head spin. Occasional shafts of bright light channelled from the world above destroy any chance that your eyes might adjust to the darkness. The cactus hallucinogen is kicking in, and the little you can make out in the murk - the carvings of leering cat faces, the statues and elaborate paintings - is horribly distorted. You go weak at the knees, but the hands at your shoulders push you relentlessly onwards, into the heart of the temple.
Image showing the “labyrinth” of Chavín de Huántar
Then just when you think you cannot take any more, as you begin to fear being abandoned to wander this labyrinth forever, your head is filled with a terrifying, unearthly noise that you cannot block out. It comes from nowhere and everywhere, enveloping you. It seems to come from the gods themselves, and disgruntled gods at that. By now utterly convinced of the power of the priests, you will do anything they say to make it stop.
The bullroarer is one of the earliest-known devices for making sound, dating back at least 17,000 years to the Palaeolithic period. Bullroarers are found the world over and seem to have been invented independently by many different cultures. They often have great ritual or religious significance and are strongly connected with male initiation rituals. In some societies bullroarers are taboo to women, who are not allowed to see or hear them.
To sound a Bullroarer it is swung lasso style which causes it to spin and make a 'humming type' sound. It is called by several different names including 'Burliwarni', 'Ngurrarngay', and 'Muypak'. They were used to display sacred symbols and sounded to warn the uninitiated that they were being shown. They were also used to send animals into ambush, and to alert one tribe of another’s presence, and in rainmaking ceremonies.
Acoustic research conducted here by John Crewdson has shown that sounds generated within the henge are contained by the earthen bank, and could not have been clearly heard from outside. Likewise, the interior would have been artificially quieter than the open landscape beyond, as sounds from the wider world are also blocked and filtered by the bank.
This sets up a clear distinction between the experiences of people. Anyone outside would have had very little knowledge of events within as they could neither clearly see or hear events in the interior.
Within Avebury's earthwork, there are features that direct and control sound. The three large monoliths of the Cove act to screen the movement of sound in some directions, while allowing it to project outwards through its open side. Perhaps this feature acted rather like a stage in a theatre, enabling voices or other sounds to be more audible from certain directions.
These echoes may well be just an accidental effect, but there is reason to suspect otherwise. William Stukeley, as early as 1720, noted that the stones of the Avebury circle were arranged with their smoothest sides facing the inside - as were the stones of the two inner circles.
One of the most interesting aspects of circular spaces is the way in which echoes change dramatically in relation to the locations of the listener and the sound source. If both are close to the centre, sounds will be reflected simultaneously from all sides of the circle and return as a coherent echo that surrounds the listener. Away from the centre, echoes become indistinct as sounds are no longer reflected from all sides of the circle at the same time. This would have created an acoustic emphasis at the centres of these circles.
Almost all of the stones at Stonehenge have been artificially shaped. It was noted during the research that the inner surfaces of many stones were dressed to be either flat or concave. This is not visually striking, but could improve the ability of these stones to reflect sound. In contrast, the outward facing surfaces of the same stones are irregular or even convex. The enormous effort invested in dressing sarsens and bluestones into these subtle and barely visible shapes is difficult to explain, but it might suggest that the builders of the monument knew how to emphasise the movement of sound.
Maeshowe is considered to be one of the finest architectural achievements of prehistoric Europe. The mound, 35m in diameter and 7m high, consists mostly of packed stones and clay, with an inner layer of stones around the chamber itself. This chambered cairn was constructed with great care, the large dressed slabs being carefully set together and finished. The chamber is 4.5m square and about the same in height. A tapered orthostat faces each corner buttress giving an impression of space and strength. The whole impression is of majesty and the idea of a "Neolithic cathedral" comes to mind.
The amazing Maeshowe mound
Because of the chamber's acoustic properties, a drummer or chanter within the tomb could appear to be surrounded by silence, while the sounds they created were emphasised at significant parts of the chamber.
This effect - zones of extreme high and low sound - is due to the interaction of standing sound waves in the prehistoric structure.
The loudest areas, it was found, seemed to concentrate around the tomb's side chambers, perhaps giving the impression of otherworldy sound coming from the realm of the dead.
One of these is a phenomenon known as "standing waves." These result from the combination of two sound waves of equal frequency and intensity travelling in opposite directions, which can produce zones of low or high intensity as the waves interact, either cancelling each other out or combining to enhance the sound.
Another remarkable phenomenon which can be created inside passage graves is known as "Helmholtz Resonance" - the sound created when you blow across the neck of a glass bottle. Passage graves and bottles share the same basic architecture: a chamber connected to the outside world by a long, narrow neck. To create the effect, people would have had to create a sound within the chamber at precisely the right pitch, as determined by the relative proportions of the chamber and passageway at each site. The larger the chamber, the lower the pitch needed to create the resonance effect.
Many societies communicate with ancestors or spirit worlds through altered states of consciousness. Altered states can be achieved in many different ways, and often involve sound. At Maeshowe it is possible that people inside inadvertently generated infrasonic sounds that could exert a physiological or psychological influence upon. This results from the phenomenon of Helmholtz Resonance.
Sound scientist, Prof. Daniel Talma of the University of Malta explains: “At certain frequencies you have standing waves that emphasize each and other waves that de-emphasize each other. The idea that it was used thousands of years ago to create a certain trance — that’s what fascinates me.”
A physical explanation for the chirped echo is proposed: The staircase constitutes an acoustical diffraction grating. Two forms of analytical data are offered in support of this explanation. First, a mathematical simulation of the chirp fundamental frequency vs time is calculated. Then a sonogram of the recorded echo is shown to be in reasonable agreement with these calculations.
Moving to archaeological issues, it is considered whether the echo was intended by its Mayan builders; is merely an artifact of reconstruction; or simply an ancient acoustical design defect. We speculate that the echo is intentional. That the steps were designed and constructed to echo the voice of the Mayan sacred bird, the resplendent quetzal (pharomachrus mocinno), viewed by ancient Maya as the "messenger of the gods.
Feathered Serpent Shadow Visible on the Equinoxes
Ancient stone masons built and aligned this stone pyramid centuries ago to project the sun's rays into a diamond-back rattlesnake of light and shadow.
On the morning and evenings of Equinox March 20, 21 and September 21, 22 thousands flock to Chichen Itza to view the same dramatic display.
In the spring, the sight is clearly visible in the early evening from mid to late February, and through mid-April. In the fall the appearance is visible from mid August through mid October.
The Quetzal as the "Spirit of the Maya" and the Spirit of Kukulkan
Archaeological proposals are made to justify design intent by arguing the central importance of quetzal mythology to both ancient and modern Maya. The quetzal, is asserted to represent the "spirit of the Maya". It is shown that the Temple's very name is connected with the quetzal The pyramid's Mayan name is "Temple of Kukulkan" The prefix K'uk has roots in the Mayan name for the quetzal. Also, the glyph of Kukulkan is represented in human form with a huge quetzal behind him, hovering like a spirit. There is much evidence that the Maya made use of quetzal feathers in their ceremonies at Chichen Itza and elsewhere. It is argued that for ancient man, echoes were voices from a spirit world. It seems appropriate that the Temple of Kukulkan should echo with the spirit voice of the quetzal.
Words softly whispered at one end of the great ball court (measuring 545 feet long by 225 feet wide) are clearly audible all the way at the other end and a single clap or shout sounded in the center of the ball court will produce nine distinct echoes.
Chavín de Huántar is an archaeological site containing ruins and artifacts originally constructed by the Chavín, a pre-Inca culture, around 900 BC. The site is located 250 kilometers (160 mi) north of Lima, Peru, at an elevation of 3,200 meters
The importance of site acoustics is suggested by distinctive architectural features,
notably an extensive network of underground galleries used in part for ritual purposes. The labyrinthine galleries are stone-walled and arranged in a series of small rectangular alcoves off narrow corridors.
In the underground chambers adjacent to the circular courtyard, called Galleries offerings have been found hundreds of pottery decorated to serve food and beverages, catering and exotic fish and mussels from the coast, as well as llamas and guinea pigs or guinea pigs. They suggest holding ceremonial banquet in those areas of the temple. We also found fragments of burned human bones that have led to postulate the possibility of ritual cannibalism.
Aerial View of the Complex
Preliminary acoustic measurements of three galleries at Chavín de Huántar indicate short reverberation times. Early reflections are energetic, become quickly dense, and are widely distributed in arrival direction; this predominantly noncoherent energy density results in envelopment and vague localization cues, despite the short reverberation times. Such an auditory space is unusual in the natural world, and may augment the positional
disorientation induced by the labyrinthine layout.
The Hypogeum of Paola, Malta, literally meaning "underground" in Greek, is a subterranean structure dating to the Saflieni phase in Maltese prehistory. Thought to be originally a sanctuary, it became a necropolis in prehistoric times. It is the only prehistoric underground temple in the world.
"There is a small niche in what we call 'The Oracle Chamber', and if someone with a deep voice speaks inside, the voice echoes all over the hypogeum. The resonance in the ancient temple is something exceptional. You can hear the voice rumbling all over."
Emerging archaeology in a new study highlighted by the Old Temples Study Foundation suggests that sound and a desire to harness its effects may have been equally important as vision in the design of humankind’s earliest ancient temples and monumental buildings
In subsequent OTSF testing, stone rooms in ancient temples in Malta were found to match the same pattern of resonance, registering at the frequency of 110 or 111 hz. This turns out to be a significant level for the human brain. Whether it was deliberate or not, the people who spent time in such an environment were exposing themselves to vibrations that impacted their minds.
Findings indicated that at 110 hz the patterns of activity over the prefrontal cortex abruptly shifted, resulting in a relative deactivation of the language center and a temporary switching from left to right-sided dominance related to emotional processing. People regularly exposed to resonant sound in the frequency of 110 or 111 hz would have been "turning on" an area of the brain that bio-behavioural scientists believe relates to mood, empathy and social behaviour.
Originally posted by v01i0
reply to post by kiwifoot
Sound indeed is a very interesting phenoma. How music affects us, how wovels for example affect the brain, how sound can break a crystal and so many more interesting phenomenas are sound related. I wonder what happens to people at the raveparties. The trance is achieved by sound and dance. Sound and dance was how shamans and medicinemen to achieve connection with their subconsciousness. Frank Herbert described sound weapons in his Dune trilogy.
What is the ultimate potent of sound? That is good question? Could sound be used as propulsion? Medicine? Weapon?